In life generally, I am a consensus person and hate conflict. I am not a ‘politician’, am not 100% wedded to ideology and I abhor extremism, racism and “isms” in general. I have deep faith which puts focus on “Love your neighbor,” “All made in G-d’s image,” and I grew up in a multi-faith society in the UK (as the only kid with a kippa in a non Jewish school).
My DNA and background leads me to pray, hope, wish for unity in society and peace with my neighbors and a bright future for all in the region. IT ALSO LED ME TO WALK INTO 7TH OCTOBER BLINDLY NAÏVE.
As a father whose son was called from home early morning on the 7th October into action in Kibbutz Be’eri and Nahal Oz and lost colleagues by his side, who saw the horrors of the day (and the next days working with teams ‘clearing up’), as a neighbor of friends whose son is captured and as someone who lost clients and members of my team, the 7th shook me to the core.
As a father of a son I regard to be highly moral, levelheaded and of the highest integrity who has been in Gaza fighting, I know the IDF to be a highly moral army doing its best in almost impossible circumstances, fighting against an enemy cynically using its population as human shields hiding in a tunnel network three times longer than the London Underground’s tunnel network.
As a father of two daughters, I saw the rape and brutality of Hamas on 7th October and simply can’t imagine my kids not being safe.
As an Israeli, I desperately want peace but a genuine peace which I recognize is impossible with an enemy in Hamas which genuinely believes and attempted genocide against me. I also rail against the ridiculous inverted claim we are committing genocide.
As a Jew and as a human, I recognize the threat extremism poses to society globally, and I hate the impact it is having on innocent civilians on the Gazan side and empathize deeply.
So…all of that leaves me a choice…I can do something (knowing it is small and probably relatively futile against the tidal wave of hatred against us) or sit back and let it drown me.
The late, great Rabbi Sacks said: “Optimism and hope are not the same. Optimism is the belief that the world is changing for the better; hope is the belief that, together, we can make the world better. Optimism is a passive virtue, hope an active one. It needs no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to hope. The Hebrew Bible is not an optimistic book. It is, however, one of the great literatures of hope.”
We have to hope but hope is a proactive word – we must all fight hard however we can contribute. I am not a soldier, am not a politician but I can advocate and will continue to do so.